No cruises from Australia will be operated by two Carnival Corporation brands until the new year due to ongoing local Covid lockdowns.
P&O Cruises Australia extended the cancellation of sailings from Sydney and Brisbane by a further month until mid-January in a move “to give guests greater confidence in planning their Christmas and new year holidays because of the uncertainty around the return of cruising”.
At the same time Princess Cruises is extending its pause in cruises in Australia and New Zealand until January 27, 2022, blaming “uncertainty around the return of cruising in the region”.
Coral Princess sailings until January 17 are cancelled together with Royal Princess and Sapphire Princess departures in the region until March 2022 – two years after the outbreak of the global pandemic.
P&O Cruises Australia also confirmed it was cancelling its Melbourne southern hemisphere summer season, which is “no longer feasible to deliver” because of the latest extension.
P&O Cruises Australia president Sture Myrmell said: “We recognise this is disappointing for our guests who were looking forward to cruising with friends and family over Christmas and new year, however, we wanted to make this announcement as early as possible to ensure they could plan with certainty for the holiday period.”
The line recently announced an intention to resume domestic operations with cruises for fully vaccinated guests and crew.
Myrmell added: “Governments have made it very clear that vaccination thresholds are the key to ending lockdowns, border restrictions and, ultimately, re-opening Australia. And part of returning to normal society is ensuring that the more than one million Australians who choose a cruise holiday each year have the opportunity to do so again.
“Unfortunately, we are not yet clear on the requirements from governments and public health authorities for a phased return of domestic cruising but we remain hopeful these conversations will gather pace now there is real momentum around society re-opening.”
Princess Cruises chief commercial officer Deanna Austin said: “It became apparent we would not be able to deliver planned deployment of Royal Princess and Sapphire Princess in Australia before they were due to start their published northern hemisphere voyages.
“We recognise that guests planning cruises over the popular summer and new year holiday period will be particularly disappointed with the changes, however, we wanted to give guests as much notice as possible so they could plan their holidays with certainty.”